Friday Flashback #121

On Christmas Eve, Westporters flock to many different churches.

Methodists will worship on Weston Road. The building is 50 years old, but it still looks beautiful and new.

It’s the successor to several Methodist churches.

The first was built on Poplar Plains, in 1790. It’s near the site of the longtime Three Bears restaurant. Today it’s once more a home of worship — for Chabad.

In the 1850s the Methodists moved to the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Main Street. There’s a law office now, at the tip of what was then a much larger town green.

A new church was built on (appropriately) Church Lane in 1908. In 1966 — to help pay for the move to Weston Road — that building was sold to the church next door, Christ & Holy Trinity. The Episcopalians still own it; it’s been rechristened Seabury Center.

But look at this photo:

The caption says “Saugatuck.”

This is clearly not Seabury Center on Church Lane. But the Myrtle Avenue/Main Street intersection is not in Saugatuck — not by a couple of miles.

Of course, the original name of Westport was “Saugatuck.” We became our own town in 1835 — a couple of decades before the Myrtle Avenue church was built.

Is this that one, simply mislabeled? Was there another Methodist church somewhere in Saugatuck?

And if so, what other churches have we lost? Click “Comments” below.

And whichever you worship at: Merry Christmas!

10 responses to “Friday Flashback #121

  1. That looks like it might have been Holy Trinity Church, which was originally I believe on Riverside Ave before they merged with Christ Church to become Christ & Holy Trinity?

  2. There was a wooden church on Saugatuck Avenue which was torn down to build the exit ramp for the westbound side of the turnpike. I think it was vacant before that also. I have a picture of it somewhere but I don’t remember it looking quite as imposing as the view here.

    • More : Eve Potts’ book “Westport, a Special Place” confirms that your picture of the white church IS the Saugatuck Methodist Church, located where I said, at the site where the Thruway entrance was built.

  3. More: Eve Potts’ book “Westport, A Special Place” confirms that your picture of the white church IS the Saugatuck Methodist Church and located where I said, at the site of the Thruway entrance ramp.

  4. Peter is, as always, correct. This lovely church took it in the neck for I95.

  5. Two things:

    The usage of “Saugatuck” and “Greens Farms” was much broader in days of yore. Saugatuck would have been considered to include all of downtown. Likewise, Greens Farms went further north to Cross Highway.

    Second, if the picture is indeed of the church that was destroyed to make way for the interstate, it would have the one that was the African-American Methodists.

    • Hi Jacques, I wasn’t sure where you got your information from stating that the African-American Methodist church was the one pictured. In the 1946 Westport Directory, the “Methodist Westport Colored” church is listed at “rear 28 Main” street. I’d be fascinated to see documentation as to any African American churches in Westport though.

      • That would be the boardinghouse, filled with African Americans (many of them domestic workers, chauffeurs, etc.) near what was most recently Onion Alley/Bobby Q’s. It burned in a fire of unknown origin around 1950. There was a place of worship in the back, which would be this “church.”

  6. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    You all are right about the church and I95 and everyone needs to be vigilant as other things that may, as Morley said, “take it in the neck” for the current I95 problems.

  7. I grew up in Saugatuck and that church was on the corner of Saugatuck Ave and Charles Street not at the northbound exit It was across from Stroffolino Park. Three houses and the church came down to build I95 . The Saugatuck kids played in the abandoned church until it was torn down.